11th September 2021
Live streams have been a big thing over the last year or so – for obvious reasons – an important way for artists to continue to connect with their fans, but Danish band Vola have tried to do something a little different here.
In their Live from the Pool show, they utilise the swimming pool of the abandoned Auderød military camp near Copenhagen, which has now been absorbed into a nature park. It’s a pretty unique space, the wider environment encroaching into the decaying building to make it feel ‘outide and inside’ at the same time.
A big part of the show is the highly effective use of lighting, developed with Danish audio-visual collective Vertigo, and as they say in the PR blurb, it becomes a place “where light, nature, music and concrete meet!” The introductory five minutes of time-lapse footage of the dilapidated and overgrown pool being set up by the tech and lighting teams as daylight gradually ebbs away is fascinating, set to a throbbing industrial drone. When it’s dark enough the lights are tested and all is ready for the quartet to take their places.
We cut to the band (down at the deep end!) as they kick off with 24 Light Years. The acoustics of the unusual space add some lovely depth, particularly to the drums, but it’s quickly almost forgotten that this performance is being filmed indoors, the grass, bushes and moss making it feel uncovered and open, and you quickly erase the memory of the high diving platform and unoccupied viewing area above where the band are set up, dry ice giving an additional eerie texture.
The two dozen lighting poles, set at irregular angles and shining in a variety of colours and fragmented patterns, are particularly effective, as are the lasers and other lights, all of which take the mind away from the concrete and straight lines of the pool building in a very engaging stage presentation.
The band are in fine form and Asger Mygind’s voice filled with haunting emotion, the sound quality matching the definition of the visuals. With five tracks each from latest album Witness and 2018’s Applause of a Distant Crowd, there is still space for a trio from debut Inmazes, from where Gutter Moon appears in the acoustic October Session version, sung and played by Mygind alone. It’s a fine selection of material that ensures that the band are shown at their full dynamic best.
It’s not a continuous performance, fading to black between most of the songs, but that just kind of adds to the ambience of the dark space. Head Mounted Sideways and Straight Lines take things in a heavier direction after the lyrical opening tracks, strobe effects adding to the otherworldly feel. Ruby Pool changes the tone, adding lightness and appropriately bathing (ouch!) the setting in delicate red light. Owls (from Inmazes) adds a technical sheen, moving smoothly into the quirky and dark intro to These Black Claws.
After the relaxed interlude of Gutter Moon, a trio of tracks from Applause of a Distant Crowd add an expansive and accessible edge with Ghosts, Smartfriend‘s dose of djenty goodness and epic rock from Whaler. Featuring an extended intro, Inside Your Fur from Witness is the culmination of the show, the central starlight beacon kicking into gear very effectively, followed by a thumping Stray the Skies from Inmazes, with exterior drone shots of the building as the show continues within.
The camerawork is effective and unusual, prowling amongst the band who, without the need to play to an audience, face each other to give a particularly intimate performance. An hour long, it’s well worth taking the time to see this show, a fine record of a band at the top of its game, with a catalogue of songs more than up to the job.
[The stream is currently available to access until 25th September HERE.]
Head Mounted Sideways
These Black Claws
Inside Your Fur
Stray the Skies
Asger Mygind – Vocals, Guitars
Martin Werner – Keyboards
Nicolai Mogensen – Bass
Adam Janzi – Drums